Unlicensed personnel calling in prescriptions?!

  1. My sister is a nurse in Indiana and the story she related to me makes me mad. Is this legal?

    I know I have seen posts about secretaries and others triaging phone calls but I haven't heard anyone say they also call in prescriptions.

    My sister had an encounter this week regarding a presciption for her daughter. She received a phone call informing her that the physician's office was calling in a script for antibiotics for her daughter (after a urine culture). She asked what her daughter was being treated for and what the antibiotic was and was told "a UTI and the antibiotic is microbid". (The med was obviously Macrobid). She said she wanted to know what the organism is they were treating and at first the person said she didn't know, then came back with nitrosomething. My sister said she had never heard of such an organism and asked to speak to a nurse. She didn't get one. This is the person who called in the prescription! My niece said she didn't know what the big deal was. She works afterschool in a doctors office and calls in presciptions all the time! Is this legal in Indiana?

    Also, my niece had surgery recently and my sister found out the person doing the prescreening on the phone was not a nurse either! This is not right!

    I'm still a nursing student but I'm constantly informing people I know about the healthcare situation. Most of them are totally unaware that they are being treated by people with very little education or training. It isn't just nurses. They are also training people to take x-rays at clinics. They know the procedure but have no formal radiology training. What next?

    Okay, I'm done ranting. I would like to hear if anyone else has heard of unlicensed personnel calling in prescriptions though.

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    About bassbird

    Joined: Jul '00; Posts: 175; Likes: 2
    Registered Nurse


  3. by   Peeps Mcarthur
    I've never heard of such a thing, but before my training I would have thought it was no big deal.
    Ignorance is bliss.
    Since I know that mistakes are made by professionals that are trained, and those mistakes sometimes kill people. I know for sure that this situation is dangerouse as hell and just a matter of time before it kills or incapacitates an otherwise healthy individual,
    if it has not already.
    As long as health care orgs can get away with it, work will always be referred to the lowest bidder.
  4. by   fiestynurse
    It is legal for medical assistants, secretaries, or anyone else that the doctor deems competent, to call in prescriptions to the pharmacy. However, pre-op screening should be done by a licensed nurse and telephone triage or giving advise over the phone based on information received from a patient should be done by a RN.
  5. by   boobaby42
    The idea of letting a non licensed person phone in prescriptions is a very dangerous thing. We had a situation at my former job. Initially, the doc would write down the rx after talking to the patient, give to the RN to phone in. ONLY AFTER talking to the patient would this take place. Eventually, some non-nurse personnel decided to call in medications to "help us out." Right before I left this job, she had been arrested for calling in narcotics to her friends. Back at work and on probation, never to call in meds again, she started pretending to be me when she called in her medications. There should be strict protocol in place and only Docs and nurses should be allowed to phone in rx, even then. Just an opinion.
  6. by   Lulu
    Not certain about the actual law, but in PA I was taught and still am told, that RN's can't even take verbal orders over the phone from other RN's with the doctor standing right there.
  7. by   coleen
    i was a medical secretary before becoming a nurse - I called in prescriptions in florida all the time! Once the nurse tried to slip in a lortab prescription for herself and a xanax for the other nurse-they are just phone messages from pharmacies and the doc just initials or phone messages from patients and the doc writes OK and his initials. Needless to say I was not comfortable calling these in for very long.

    In our major MN clinic the triage nurses call them in but sometimes the DON 's secretary calls them in - it makes me cringe how she massacres the med names. I've seen horrific consequences due to wrong med - one pt we had got lanoxin pills in his lasix bottle - he had to have a pacemaker put in and died 3 months later after taking 3 of those lanoxins a day for a month. This was because they also have clerks filling prescriptions at the drug store and the lanoxin bin was right next to the lasix bin in alphabetical order.

    SHEESH!!!! At least these people don't have licenses to get revoked when they call these in. It's very easy to say Celexa instead of Cephlexan if a secretary is familar with one of the meds (nurses do these things too-I'm careful to spell out name when calling in unfamiliar meds) That pt would be happy happy happy even though still hacking green loogies
  8. by   nursecheryl
    My husband went in for a cardiac cath and the unlicenced person who did the preop screening kept calling him by the name James. His name is Steve. He said to her I sure hope James is getting the same procedure as me. Everyone laughed but me. I know in Ohio you have to be an RN to call in a perscription and the pharmacies aren't suppose to take narcotic perscription verbal orders. You have to fax those with md signature.
  9. by   LPN & EMT-CT
    In VA only liscensed nurses can call in a order and for narcs only the doc can call it in or the actual order has to be faxed to the pharmacy. No medical secertaries or UAP's or CNA's can call in rx's.
  10. by   ERNurse752
    I live in IN, and I've seen this done...I'm not sure of an actual law permitting/prohibiting it though.

    It's scary...unless you have training and education with medications, it's easy to make a mistake.

    With proper training, we know what the indications for meds are, how they work, safe dosages, side effects, etc...and we can also serve as another "safety net" in case the MD/NP makes an error. Untrained people can't do that.

    Celebrex vs. Cerebyx is a big fear of mine...

    Same issue with unlicensed people administering medication, or filling prescriptions.

    Unfortunately, healthcare has become a business where the bottom dollar rules...
  11. by   Dazedgiggle
    The first time I ever called in a prescription to a pharmacy, I told them my name and that I was a nurse. They asked for the name of the meds, then that was it! I asked them if they needed my license number or any type of proof that I was who I said I was....they said no, they were lucky to even be GETTING a nurse to call them in! It was usually secretaries, med assistants and the like. I was horrified! How easy would it be to just call in scripts for myself if I wanted? I had access to DEA numbers galore! This is in NH by the way. I'm not sure of the law, but this is what I'm told goes on. I call in as few scripts as I can now, just to help out a patient once in a while and I actually get permission from the doc or the PA-C before I do it. I really think if they're going to do anything like that over the phone they need a little more I.D. info so people can be held accountable.
  12. by   oramar
    The stuff that goes on is unbelievable. Medical assistants are doing everything these days. I can't help but wonder if mistakes are being made in large numbers and are being covered up. Everybody is so up in arms about mistakes being made in hospitals by LICENSED PERSONEL. One wonders what is going on with unlicensed personel in clinics and MDS offices. Remember that post I did about being given wrong prep for test by a tech. When I said something about it being med error the person tried to blow me off saying contrast was not a medication. It would have never even got written up if I had not insisted. Of course every single nurse on these boards knew it was a med error, with techs you don't know if they are playing dumb or if they really don't know.
  13. by   itsme
    I know this thread is old, but.... Yesterday I asked to speak to a nurse at the clinic, and "Margie" got on the phone. I was talking about different meds for GERD, and she said xanax. I asked her to speel it , which she did, then I asked what type of nurse she was, she said " Well I am doctor so&so's nurse" I asked specifically if she was an RN or LPN, she said well I am a MA, then she said that was the same as a nurse. I informed her I am a nurse and that they were not the same, then I had a nice little conversation with a real nurse, found out the answers to my questions, and proceeded to tell her that "Margie" said she is as nurse too. The actual nurse assured me that that would be taken care of as this isnt the first time they have ran into probs with Margie.
  14. by   itsme
    Oh, and I think she meant Zantac instead of xanax!!